That streak looked to be in jeopardy in the very first inning of his Monday’s game. Pence traveled deep into right center field tracking a ball hit by Michael Cuddyer, and eventually collided with the wall so hard that it sent Pence to the ground momentarily.
Replays showed that Pence’s impact with the wall to be pretty brutal, but Pence refused to be taken out of the game even though he had already made his start and his streak was extended. Two trainers and manager Bruce Bochy couldn’t even get him out of the game. Pence was not able to make the catch, and later admitted that the wall the knocked the wind out of him. He would go on for a 1-for-4 night.
In his first at-bat of Tuesday’s game, the second of a three-game series against the Rockies, Pence hit a two-run homer to left field. But not just any home run — a 476-foot bomb, the longest in the big leagues this year.
Between the effort to track down Cuddyer’s ball, the guts to stay in the game despite playing meaningless baseball in a lost season and the home run the very next night, they’re are all just so Hunter-Pence-like. How many players do you know making $13.8 million and are willing to go crashing into a poorly-padded outfield wall when their team’s chances of making the postseason have come and gone long ago?
This is why I wanted to show my appreciation for Pence. The majority of other players would have came out of the game after taking a hit like that. It wouldn’t even be audacious to say some players would even enjoy a trip to the DL for committing such a play. Then again, not many players would put that much effort into a play to begin with, so they wouldn’t even come close to crashing into an the wall anyway.
The home run in the first at-bat next game was just the cherry on top for Pence. Playing in a game where many would have accepted his absence, Pence’s tenacity is a one-of-a-kind in the major leagues, and the courage he showed between Monday and Tuesday nights’ games against the Rockies is a prime example of that.
Pence put as much force into the outfield wall on Monday and he did into his home run swing on Tuesday. That exemplifies the kind of player Pence is. Bravo, Hunter. Bravo.